40+ Free Oil Painting Video Tutorials For Beginners
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you buy something we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Our recommendations are not purely influenced by commissions(learn more)
Oil painting has a reputation for being difficult. It can be intimidating to try matching up to the old masters.
Even trying to get rid of combustible rags can be scary. But don’t worry!
There are plenty of people out there who have mastered oil painting—and they’ve put all of their knowledge online for free.
When you follow along with these tutorials you’ll start with the basics and slowly move up to higher levels.
You’ll learn what materials you need and how to mix colors(and how to avoid setting your house on fire).
From Bob Ross style landscapes to anatomy studies, there’s plenty of info out there to take you from beginner to pro.
The Basics of Oil Painting
For an overview of beginner oil painting this 10-minute video is quick and thorough.
The artist Lena Danya will give you an idea of what oil paint is and how to buy it. She also goes over basic materials you’ll need like solvents and mediums.
If you have materials and want to start painting right away, this video also teaches the basic principle of “fat over lean”. This will help you keep your painting from cracking or drying too slowly.
All in all this is the perfect tutorial to jump in and get started.
Oil Painting Basics
If you’re in even more of a rush try this 6-minute video.
The artist lists the basics on-screen so it’s easy to take notes and go right to the art store(or online).
You’ll also find some tips and tricks for how to clean your brushes. That will be important for the longevity of your paint brushes.
The Best Brushes For Oil Painting
This video doesn’t just tell you which brushes to buy. It tells you how to use them.
You’ll learn which brushes will last the longest and serve you best.
If you keep watching you’ll find out which brushes to buy for each part of the painting process.
A great beginner tip from this video is using cheap chip brushes for large areas in your first layers.
The artist also has a tutorial on cleaning and conditioning—something that will save you time and money in the long run.
Basic Techniques + Step by Step Demo
Now that the materials are out of the way you can jump into painting with this video!
After a brief opening description you’ll find a great tutorial on the study of an eye.
Don’t worry about making color choices by yourself—half the screen shows the palette so you’ll learn exactly how to mix and treat the paint.
If you’re a visual learner or a note-taker there are step-by-step notes to follow.
And for more information the author also includes a free pdf about the basics of oil painting which is great for beginners.
This is very similar to the Proko Masterpiece Demo series which covers all of these topics more in-depth.
If you like painting from photographs this tutorial is for you.
Follow along with this video using the exact same photo that the artist is using. For a beginner this is a great confidence booster.
If you’re interested in practicing on paper to save money the artist Lena Danya goes into detail on how to prime your paper. She also gives a short drafting tutorial if your drawing skills are rusty.
What makes this easy for beginners is the small set of colors.
The colors are all labeled and the artist explains how to organize and blend as she paints.
Step by Step Oil Tutorial for Beginner
Realistic painting is a goal for a lot of painters who are just starting out. This video teaches the basics of painting with a simple black and white still life.
You’ll learn how to create light and dark gradation and stunning highlights. You’ll also get a feel of when and how to use your brushes.
The artist includes step-by-step tips for color mixing so you’ll get a sense of how many shades of a color you really need to create an in-depth painting.
Full Length Painting & Explanations
This portrait-painting tutorial is perfect for a beginner painter with some drawing experience.
With an hour and a half of painting time, the tutorial takes you from start to finish creating a classic portrait.
If you don’t have that much experience with drawing faces the artist includes a short drafting tutorial. There is no reference image, though, so it’s best if you have a model or can follow right along with the painter.
Aside from just explaining when to use solvent and medium, this artist delves into his artistic process too. He talks about how great portrait painting is done and where he finds inspiration.
Efficiency and speed are also goals here.
Pick up tips on how to warm up or cool down colors, and learn how to organize your brushes to minimize cleaning time.
Sunflowers & Blue Vase
If you’re a true beginner looking to create a beautiful piece, this flower painting video should be right up your alley.
You’ll use a large range of colors but the artist does a great job of explaining them.
Creating the vase and flowers is incredibly simple. You’ll use basic shapes to create the outline of the image and go from there..
You’ll finish the painting by using some cool brush techniques for creating shapes and mixing colors. No drawing experience needed!
If fast color and loose brushwork is your style then try this quick animal painting video.
Some people just like to jump in and start. For those people alla prima style painting may be the way to go.
Alla prima means wet-on-wet painting. That means no drying time, 100% painting time!
Mistakes like muddy colors are pretty common with alla prima paintings. This tutorial shows you how to create a colorful piece all in one sitting without blending your colors together.
A reference photo is provided so don’t worry about going at the same pace as the artist.
Painting Shadows and Highlights
As this valuable color theory video shows us, creating a convincing shadow can be a piece of cake… if you have the right skillset.
When you’re painting with color, creating a shadow doesn’t just mean using black.
If that sounds confusing don’t worry. This tutorial teaches you how to create convincing darkness using complementary colors.
If you don’t want to figure it out on your own the artist also teaches you exactly which colors to use and why.
Layer Paint Oiling Up Technique
Building up layers is one of the reasons people love oil painting.
If you aren’t happy with your colors you’ll need a layer to adjust them.
Textures like hair, fur, and grass are the most beautiful and convincing on an oil-heavy layer.
This layering tutorial will help you to get the effects of layering without cracking your painting.
This artist includes tips for mixing mediums, solvent, and many colors of paint. She’ll give a few tips for creating beautiful specialty textures too.
Mixing Colors using Oil Paints
Most trained painters have made at least one color wheel. You may have even created one in your middle-school art class.
As basic as it may seem, there’s no better way to teach yourself to mix colors.
And the color wheel doesn’t need to be a time-consuming affair. This color mixing tutorial teaches you the basics of color mixing all in one sitting.
The artist teaches how to create a color wheel from the primary colors. If you want to go further she’ll also teach you how to add green and purple from the tube.
How To Mix Colors With Oils
By contrast this color mixing video is a bit more practical.
In a short tutorial the artist teaches you how to mix colors based on the scene you’re painting.
Matching paint colors to life is what will take your painting into true realism.
You might need to use basic color theory and brush up on it with some research. But the artist spends most of the time explaining how to use your eyes to find the right color.
If you want to paint the still life from this video he provides a tutorial in another video too.
Essentials of Oil Painting: The Color Palette
If you’re still confused on color theory this video will give you some confidence.
First the artist lists the standard colors every painter should have.
But the best part is that they list specialty colors and what they’re used for.
If you want to know which blue to use for a shadow, and which white to use for a highlight, watch this tutorial. And get ready to take notes!
Snowy Pine Tree
For a quick and beautiful winter scene try this landscape painting tutorial.
Creating trees, snow, and shadows are all as simple as following the artist’s steps. You’ll rely on brush techniques so even if you don’t know how to draw you’ll be fine.
You’ll also be able to finish this quickly since it can all be done in one layer.
Blending and Brushwork
Learn how to blend the right way with this simple tutorial.
Blending is the most important part of creating realism. Bad blending leads to weird textures and unrealistic transitions.
Good blending creates vital colors and realistic textures. This artist shows you how by using lots of paint and including transition tones.
How To Paint Skin Tone
Skin can be difficult to paint because it includes a range of values. This tutorial is a recipe for all values you need to paint skin.
The best part is that you can use this for various skin shades. The artist uses a range of grays to provide value and adds other colors to create real-looking skin.
She also uses these colors to paint from a reference photo that you can access online.
Oil Painting: Tips, Tricks, Techniques
Once you get into oil painting you should absorb all the tips you can. This short video is a whirlwind of information but worth watching.
This includes tips and tricks for everything from palette choices to tracing options to mixing for shades of black.
You’ll find coverage on such a wide range of topics that it’s worth watching even if you’ve already watched other previous tutorials on similar topics.
Still Life(Part 1)
Get ready to paint a stunning still life with this four part series.
This final painting would make a great portfolio piece or look beautiful on your wall.
Create beautiful textures for glass, liquid, and flowers right along with the artist. Bargain for at least two hours of painting time, plus drying time.
However this is an intermediate-level video and you’ll need some experience since the artist is already blocking in colors when the video starts.
Pitcher & Cherries
This still life is a quick study that’s great for intermediate painters.
The speedpaint doesn’t hold your hand, but the content simple enough.
After you watch the speedpaint you can recreate the exact same thing from the reference photo.
Bright colors are what bring this painting to life. Don’t be afraid if color isn’t your thing—the artist narrates tips on keeping your colors vibrant.
Pear Still Life Demo
This fifteen minute color demo will show you how to add color to a grayscale painting with ease.
You will need to have a grayscale painting to start with, so you’ll need some knowledge of how to paint, shade, and model.
But even as a digital painter I’ve been using this technique to add that missing element to a good grayscale piece.
If you get good at it this can be the easiest way to finish a painting.
Seashell and Books
You need to paint tons of studies if you want to become a great painter. But before you get anywhere close to good you might get sick of pitchers, flowers, and fruit.
That’s why I’ve included this tutorial for beginners. The seashell and books that you’ll be painting provide a little variety away from normal subjects.
At one hour of painting time you’ll be able to practice things like perspective and texture without spending all day on it.
The artist includes a traceable template for beginners and a reference photo of the finished painting.
How To Paint Bluebells
After you block in colors for a landscape painting you’ll need to start adding texture.
This demo teaches you how to quickly add texture and light to a landscape painting in just 20 minutes.
The artist first blocked this painting in acrylic(a great money-saving tip). If you want to follow along with the artist you can block in a similar canvas before starting the demo.
In the demo he covers brush size, brush type, and techniques for quickly creating texture.
How to Paint A Bridge
Sometimes the best way to start painting is just to put your brush to paper.
This simple speedpaint is a step-by-step guide for a beginner who needs some inspiration.
In about half an hour you can create a traditional bridge painting for your wall or for a friend.
The artist includes a quick color mixing tutorial if you’re not feeling confident about your color abilities too.
Oil Painting Tutorial: Flamenco Dancer
We’ve covered a lot of still life painting and landscape tutorials, but we’ve left something important out of this—the human figure.
In a half-hour tutorial this artist goes from start to finish painting a flamenco dancer. He’s working from a reference photo and includes some helpful tips on painting from photos.
Even though the whole process is covered in the video, you might want to warm up by drawing some figures before you start.
Wine & Red Grapes
If you want to do a quick study of shiny glass and glossy grapes, this tutorial is perfect for beginners.
Although the tutorial is only twenty minutes, you’ll need to account for drying time. If you do your initial blocking in acrylic like the artist you won’t have to wait long.
The artist doesn’t use too many complex techniques either.
She goes slowly so beginners can follow along step by step during the oil painting portion. She also includes a traceable template.
Silhouette Painting Technique
This is mostly an acrylic painting tutorial but it’s so great for beginners working towards oils.
If you use acrylic for the background of this painting, using rich oils for the silhouettes is a stunning effect.
The best part is that it shouldn’t take more than half an hour to get to the finished piece.
Paint with Brett Fulltime
For the more hands-on painter this tutorial is full of fun techniques.
You’ll learn how to apply paint with a paint knife to create snowcaps. If you’ve never done that, it’s so much fun. Almost like finger painting for adults!
The artist also uses Bob Ross style brush techniques to finish off this mountain scene.
How To Paint Clouds
Your landscapes might feature clear blue skies but you’ll need to learn how to paint clouds if you want your paintings to look realistic.
Use this fifteen minute tutorial to learn brush techniques for convincing clouds in your oil work.
As always, color plays a huge part.
White clouds aren’t just a matter of using white so this video teaches some color mixing too.
Paint A Flamingo
This flamingo speedpaint is sure to bring some color into your art life.
This speedpaint is a little quick for beginners but at just eight minutes long it’s a great investment for your technique.
You’ll need some understanding of how color works and how paint moves. But layering and organizing light and dark colors are all explained in the video. That means you don’t have to include too much drying time!
For more advanced painters there might be some questions about underpaintings.
Underpaintings are incredibly helpful whether you’re looking to speed up the painting process or trying to get more rich colors in your paintings.
This 5-minute video explains how underpaintings can be used to tone(darken) your colored layers.
You’ll also find speedpaints of underpaintings which should be helpful if you’re just getting started.
Mastery comes from practice so we’ve included plenty of landscape tutorials on this list.
And here’s one more for you! This mountain landscape tutorial is about fifty minutes long and it’s great for beginners.
This tutorial doesn’t use a reference image. You won’t need too much experience, either.
Just follow along with the artist as she paints a mountain scene from top to bottom.
My favorite thing about this piece is the misty background. It’s so convincing and fun to paint.
How To Paint Fast
Get ready to take notes because this quick video is jam packed with information.
This painter completes a two-layer oil painting in two days. That’s pretty amazing, considering the main issue people have with oil painting is that it takes too long.
For your own super speedy painting the artist includes material recommendations too.
She also explains what you absolutely need to finish on the first day. That way the second day can be spent on finishing touches.
Peafowl in Water-mixable Oils
We haven’t covered water-soluble oil paints yet in this list, but they are featured in this fifty-minute tutorial.
The artist includes a reference photo and she includes her drafting in the beginning of the tutorial. So this is best for intermediate painters.
If you do choose to buy water-soluble oils they are more environmentally friendly and convenient. That’s because they don’t require the solvents that oils normally do.
How To Paint An Eye
The next few videos all come from the one artist who has a lot of experience with painting human anatomy.
This fifteen minute tutorial is a quick study of an eye from a reference photo.
Even though the video is short, the artist covers just about everything. She starts with a light skin tone color mixing demonstration.
She also explains how to organize dark and light on the canvas as well as brushes—meaning you can paint this all in one layer.
How To Paint Lips
This ten-minute tutorial on lips focuses on a couple different photos.
In this video the artist covers the whole drawing process. If you’re just learning anatomy you can even trace before painting.
This video is mostly a speedpaint so I’d recommend watching it a couple times before working from the photos.
How To Paint Hands
I don’t think I’ve ever met an artist that wasn’t afraid of painting hands at some point. We spend so much time looking at hands that even tiny mistakes can make them look like claws or spiders.
That’s why I’d recommend watching this eight minute tutorial a few times over.
There are two hand poses created from reference photos. The poses aren’t too hard but they’re just complicated enough to teach you a thing or two about anatomy.
Alla Prima Techniques
As we’ve mentioned before, painting alla prima means painting “wet-on-wet” or all in one layer.
Whether you’re too impatient for drying time or just looking to do quick studies, you’ll learn what you need to know from this 30 minute tips and tricks video.
This video is pretty detailed so it’s best if you have some experience. Especially mixing paint with other mediums.
How To Paint Oils Over Acrylics
Depending on how big or detailed you want your paintings to be, you might want to look into using acrylic layers.
Why use both?
Well as this artist explains, you can cut your painting time by two thirds easily. Not to mention acrylics are cheaper than oils.
At the same time, oils have the best vibrancy and richness for light and shadow. So this artist shows you how to use them both without your painting cracking.
Oil Painting with Light & Color
Most artists say painting directly from life is best. But many of us don’t have that luxury.
The warmth of sunlight and the richness of the ocean can be pulled from a photograph… if you have the right techniques.
This 8-minute video tutorial on comparing and mixing colors will teach you how to adjust your colors as you go whether you have a reference or not.
Landscape By Yasser Fayad
For the last tutorial on this list we’re finishing on a high note. The warmth and vitality in this nearly two hour tutorial is stunning.
If you’ve got a handle on how to put paint on canvas this artist shows you everything you need to create incredible depth, warmth, and contrast in your scenes.
You can follow along step by step or apply the techniques to your own paintings on a whim.